The Data Dude on Smartphone Use

Gold Guy Surfing On Business ReportsThis week, the Dude takes a look at a recent Pew Internet report on smartphone use. First, let’s first not assume everyone knows what is generally meant when referring to a smartphone. A smartphone (or smart phone, if you prefer), is a device that functions as a phone (you can call or send text messages to other dudes) but also has additional capabilities. For example, it allows a person to browse the web, take photos and video with its camera, GPS navigation, and run a whole host of additional apps and games, either online or offline. Smartphones have various sized touchscreens. While these devices provide the user with the capability to get online with Wi-Fi (if available), most also allow mobile web use if you pay for a plan that has it (such as 4G) when you aren’t near a place that has Wi-Fi. OK, so here are some facts from the report:
  • Nearly two-thirds of all Americans now own a smartphone
  • 10% of Americans that own a smartphone do not have any other form of high-speed internet access at home beyond their phone’s data plan
  • 62% of smartphone owners have used their phone in the past year to look up information about a health condition.
  • 57% have used their phone to do online banking.
  • 44% have used their phone to look up real estate listings or other information about a place to live.
  • 43% to look up information about a job.
  • 40% to look up government services or information.
  • 30% to take a class or get educational content.
  • 18% to submit a job application.
  • 56% use their phone at least occasionally to learn about community events or activities, with 18% doing this “frequently.”
  • 49% of smartphone owners experience content that they are trying to access not displaying properly on their phone at least on occasion, with 10% saying that this happens to them “frequently.”
So what can we take away from these stats (especially for libraries)? For one, that people are using their smartphones, and using them to get online. Public Wi-Fi is important to enable them to get online, because no one has an unlimited amount of data in their plan to use. Finally, because there is an increasing amount of smartphone use, it is more important than ever to have functional websites that display well on these devices. I’ve seen some really great ones and some awful ones. Essential information should be there and be easy to find. Have you looked at your website recently on a smartphone? Shaka.
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